Tech workers on the employee forum Blind expressed their criticism towards a startup CEO who listed undesirable qualities for new hires, such as those who prioritize pay or seek a strictly routine work schedule.
“While I can give you hundreds of reasons to join Careem such as the opportunities you’ll have to learn and grow, create impact or work in a hybrid setting, let me instead share with you the reasons not to join Careem,” Mudassir Sheikha, the CEO of the super app Careem, said in a LinkedIn post, adding that workers should not join the company if “your top priority is cash compensation.”
“While you’ll receive competitive compensation at Careem, there are much easier places to earn a paycheck,” he said in the post. “For colleagues at Careem, their top priority is creating impact and fulfilling our purpose.”
One employee, Sheikha, emphasized that working at Careem is not a typical 9-to-5 job and advised individuals seeking structure, certainty, or a luxurious office to avoid the company entirely.
“Colleagues at Careem don’t clock in and clock out, they see things through the finish line like owners,” he wrote in a post that generated over 220 comments on LinkedIn — many of which appeared to take issue with the CEO’s statement.
An anonymous Roblox worker on Blind labeled the CEO’s post as “tone-deaf” and “cringe,” sparking a thread with almost 650 responses. The authenticity of the users’ employment claims could not be independently verified by Insider.
“Translation: we’ll pay you peanuts, put you in a cramped space with little amenities, provide no training, work you till you burn out and quit so the execs and owners can get a fat payout on the back of your labor,” the Roblox worker wrote. “Unless you’re desperate, why would you join this kind of place?”
A spokesperson from the Dubai-based startup, acquired by Uber in 2020, stated that the company provides competitive compensation and a hybrid-work environment, catering to a region where traditional work culture prevails.
“We’re delighted that so many people have taken an interest in Careem’s culture,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “Since we published more information on our colleague value proposition, we’ve seen applications soar. Careem continually benchmarks its salaries against a peer group of leading global companies to remain attractive to top global talent.”
“Ok, let me get this straight- you want the *world’s* ‘most talented’ and ‘purpose driven’ employees, but you don’t think compensation should be a priority for them — so you want the world’s best but you don’t want to pay for them,” one worker who listed in her profile that she worked at Microsoft wrote in a response on LinkedIn that generated 90 likes. “You think the worlds best should be so inspired by your ‘mission’ that they should be willing to work for cheap even though you’re not a non-profit or running some kind of humanitarian mission here; it’s a for profit company, and the ‘mission’ is to make you money.”
While many commenters on Blind and LinkedIn disagreed with the CEO’s post, some expressed support. A Careem employee on Blind mentioned that they aren’t required to work excessive hours and considered the compensation satisfactory.
Binod Shankar, an executive coach, praised the post on LinkedIn, describing it as “fab and rare.”
“A honest, helpful & concise description of the company culture from the CEO,” Shankar said. “I’ve always said that poor job fitment (and that includes culture fitment) is the main reason why millions are miserable at work. At least in this case job hunters who don’t fit the culture have been warned & equally importantly you’ll probably attract the right bunch.”
In recent months, there has been ongoing debate and criticism surrounding CEOs’ comments on employee work ethic.
Startups have long been associated with a culture of hard work and dedication, which can yield significant rewards. In 2019, The National News reported that numerous Careem employees became millionaires following the $3.1 billion Uber acquisition. However, there are indications that tech workers are becoming weary of this demanding lifestyle.